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a cappella SATB – American 18th century anthem – by William Billings
This is a free offering of the William Billings classic from 1787. William Billings was a prolific composer based in Boston Massachusetts. He is considered the father of traditional American shape note music. The Guilford (VT) Community Church UCC Choir has sung this at almost every Easter Sunday service for over thirty years. Listen to a rendition from a traditional Sacred Harp sing (which is in Ireland – American Sacred Harp singing has also been spreading across Europe and the UK). One of the many places you can find this anthem is in the Original Sacred Harp, an extraordinary collection of American shape note hymns that has been published continuously since 1844.
The Lord is ris’n indeed! Hallelujah!
Now is Christ risen from the dead,
And become the first-fruits of them that slept.
Hallelujah, and did He rise? did He rise?
Hear it ye nations! hear it, Oh ye dead!
He rose, He burst the bars of death
And triumphed o’er the grave.
Then I rose, then first humanity
Triumphant passed the crystal ports of light
And seized eternal youth.
Man, all immortal hail,
Hail heaven, all lavish of strange gifts to man,
Thine’s all the glory,
Man’s the boundless bliss.